04/12/11 330 W, 1 I - + 5 - 3 Truck 12 Disbanded, 1988

We blogged about possible company closures in Greensboro the other week. In the Capitol City, only one permanent company closure is recorded. Truck 12 was removed from service on October 30, 1988. The three-person service-ladder company operated a 1980 Ford C service truck. Of interesting note is that the city's service companies did not have Captains, as those positions were eliminated in 1976. That year and during those tough economic times, City Manager Lawrence Zachary cut the nine positions as part of 60 eliminated that budget year.

The closure of Truck 12 was recalled two years later, in a News & Observer article. Fire Chief Sherman Pickard recounted that a task force spent four months assessing how many ladder trucks Raleigh needed, and where they should be located. The task force recommend removing Truck 12 from service, and using its twelve members to staff Engine 20 in a new station on Trailwood Road. (Did they have twelve positions, or just nine? Need to check that.)

In a report to City Manager Dempsey Benton, the fire chief noted that the area served by Truck 12 had mainly single-story residences which did not require or justify aerial ladder services. And that fires in such structures were usually fought with hand lines (versus aerial streams). The closure thus saved the city $550,000 to replace the ladder truck, as well as the annual expense of $331,763 for the new positions. 

The city had five ladder companies that year, three service trucks and two aerial ladders. The third aerial ladder company was placed in service the following year, in September 1981. (The last service company was removed from service in 1989 at Station 15, I believe.) As for Truck 12, log books recorded that the company was removed from service until further notice on May 11, 1988. The logs recorded the permanent removal from service on October 30, 1988. (As for the words "service truck," we've even analyzed their origin in a prior thread.) Engine 20 was placed in service early the following year, on January 20, 1989.


Jeff Harkey photo 

Which clearly explains why we are so far behind now….thanks Sherm’! Unbelievable to see that the justification for a Ladder Company was solely based on the aerial master stream, versus the priorities on the fireground of an Engine Company versus a Truck/Ladder Company.

Isn’t it funny how now we are looking at placing a Ladder Company at the new #12, and at one time they were considering an expansion of #12 to accommodate a Ladder Company….
Silver - 04/12/11 - 09:33

You are making an inference, be careful. The above posting does not indicate sole justification, merely “a” justification.
Note - 04/12/11 - 09:42

But is it a true conclusion or a false conclusion?

Going on fact; 1) There are plans to put a Ladder Company in the new #12, and at one time they considered remodeling existing #12 to fit a Ladder Company (just not because of an aerial device); 2) After the old #4 on Wake Forest Rd. was sold, a consultant later made a recommendation that a fire station would serve “this area” well (pointing to a map of the city). “This area” is almost exactly where Old #4 sits…..
Silver - 04/12/11 - 11:28

Silver is correct. When [if] #12 is replaced the current plans have it as a 3-bay station. However, the bays are behind the station facing to the sides with a driveway on either side of the station to make it a true “drive-thru” station. L8 will move to #12 to help boost ISO points. L8 currently only serves 2 stations (excluding it’s own). By relocating to #12 it will serve 3 (again, excluding #12). Same it supposed to happen with L6 upon completion of #29 so it can serve 3 stations as well.
RescueRanger - 04/12/11 - 11:52

You also have to take into account that things were done perhaps a bit differently back when that decision was made. They didn’t look at todays standards of fire ground priorities, they had their own set. Also given the way that fire was fought back then, the Chief was likely quite correct in saying that the use of handlines far outweighted the use of an elivated masterstream because that’s what ladders did back then, provide elevated masterstreams. They didn’t serve the search, OVM, ceiling pulling, etc operations that they do today. Just another perspective, we cannot look at only todays standards and factors when judging decisions made so long ago.

And as an aside, is 29 still being built or is that on hold due to the new talk about closing houses etc. Are we really going to build a house to close another when we already are struggling with tightening our belts?
A differing perspective - 04/12/11 - 12:09

There is no talk of station closure or job layoffs in Raleigh. Construction on #29 is slated to start in June.
RescueRanger - 04/12/11 - 12:25

@differing perspective; You are absolutely correct. I guess I was venting earlier, but you’re right, back then in Raleigh they really didn’t care about truck ops/ladder ops. It was good for an elevated stream and that’s all. Extremely based on Engine work only, we can’t apply our standards today on how what happened in this scenario back then. I stand corrected!! Still amazes me how certain “leaders” were more involved in cutting this and closing that, only to now end up costing us more in the long run and having to play catch up.
Silver - 04/12/11 - 16:04

@Silver- I have seen a lot of that over the years, cutting costs here and there, doing things that are going to save ‘so much money’ or ‘make us more efficient’. All those things cut (people, stations, apparatus) always wind up having to come back at increased costs. And we spend a lot more money that we really should to prove we can be ‘more efficient’. Penny wise and pound foolish.
DJ - 04/12/11 - 16:30

Raleigh has enjoyed a pretty good run of prosperity over the decades and past century, it seems, between population and physical growth. Those numbers have kept going up. Previous fire administrations seemed to have kept pace to pretty good effect, if on the “small thinking” side. Such as, say, stations built smaller than larger. (Though everyone has always had their own beds. No hot-bunking here!) Was that a failure of imagination? Directives to keep costs tighter than looser? Other factors? The City Managers during those periods share their part in the history alongside the fire chiefs. But we’re still staffed and still open for business. Reading recent Detroit and Richmond fire department yearbooks saw pages in both dedicated to closed companies. We’ve never (or not yet) faced such hardships in the Capitol City. The fire load has changed as well. The days of big honkin’ commercial fires in old downtown buildings are a thing of the past. Houses, apartments, condos, and town homes. That’s where the hose goes these days. And some of those get pretty large…
Legeros - 04/12/11 - 17:09

It amazes and frustrates me how people act like ladder company ops of forcing doors, searching, ventilating and laddering buildings is something new. All of this has been happening since people started fighting fires. The invention of the ladder company is not a new idea. People around here have just recently started taking their blinders off that there is a better way to do some things on the fireground.
Mike - 04/12/11 - 19:57

Tis’ true Mike, but we have come a really, really long way. It’s even trickling down to the smaller agencies, which is awesome. It came down to two things; training and mindset. We have overcome the “mindset” issue, and working on the training issue. We are on a decent path now, if you ask me. Definitely work in progress, but we’re getting there. Repetition is the key now…
Silver - 04/12/11 - 22:11

So where is Truck 12 now? Was it auctioned off?
Emily - 04/13/11 - 06:35

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